00:55 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Aerial view of Urumqi, Xinjiang Province, PR China

    US Embassy Official Summoned by China's Foreign Ministry Over Xinjiang Bill

    © CC BY 3.0 / Anagoria / Aerial view of Urumqi, Xinjiang Province, PR China
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    US House of Representatives has passed a bill that allows US authorities to punish Bejing over alleged human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

    China's Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang has summoned William Klein, the US embassy’s minister counsellor for political affairs, over the newly-adopted Xinjiang bill, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry. The Chinese minister strongly expressed his dissatisfaction with the move to the US official.

    "On 4 December 2019, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang summoned Charge d'Affaires a.i. of the United States Embassy in China William Klein to lodge stern representations and strong protests against the US House of Representatives’ passing of the ‘Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019,’" the statement said.

    Qin demanded the United States to correct its mistakes and halt interference in China’s domestic affairs over Xinjiang-related issues, the statement said.

    China would make further responses according to the development of the situation, the statement added.

    Earlier, the ministry warned the United States of the repercussions the adoption of the controversial bill could entail.

    The ministry's spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the move could affect bilateral ties and dampen the prospects of a trade deal.

    On Tuesday, reports emerged that Beijing could impose "visa restrictions on US officials and lawmakers who've had odious performance on Xinjiang issue".

    Uyghur Rights Bill

    The US House of Representatives approved the Uyghur Act of 2019 requiring the US president to condemn abuses against Muslims and call for the closure of mass detention camps in its western region of Xinjiang.

    The bill now has to be approved by the Senate before being submitted for signature to President Trump.

    In an August 2018 report, UN experts on the elimination of racial discrimination said that up to 1 million ethnic Uighurs could be held in so-called re-education camps.

    Beijing has, however, repeatedly denied the existence of such camps on numerous occasions, saying that the claims have never been substantiated and arguing that the facilities are, in fact, vocational colleges set up as part of counterterrorism efforts in the region.

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